Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A new Tenkara fan is born in the Catskills headwaters

Last month I took one of my best friends camping in the Catskills. He has a new family member on the way and while extremely, exciting, it was also great to have a break from the rigors of daily city living.

After a few hours on the road we were deep into the woods in the southern Catskills. We picked a prime designated campsite by the river and set up the grill. My friend got a little fire started. There wasn't much wood that wasn't rotten anywhere nearby. Glad we had brought the grill for cooking this time!

We looked for some Chanterelles but didn't find any. 

What did find was beautiful.

I set up a couple of Tenkara rods and we hit the stream. This campsite was along the headwaters of a well known trout stream. The fish up here are very small, as well as few and far between on most day. But we had some luck and my friend had his first Tenkara brookie in a few casts.

I caught a few as well.

At night, the same run looked completely different. I tried night fishing but didn't catch anything.

We did spot this crazy large spider carrying an egg sac over the rocks. 

The next morning we woke up and packed up camp. The plan was to go find a swimming hole that also made for a nice trout hole on another headwaters in the area and explore it.

The water was clear and cold... the fish were there, but it was hard to sneak up on them.

I succeeded in landing a few nice wild brookies.

The stream was beautiful. Lots of mossy rocky ledges and sunny bends.

When the water is this low, it exposes the channels in the rock. This is a huge opportunity to take note of the best casting spots for the following spring or when water is at higher levels.

The fish were concentrated in the deep runs and mini-gorges that were still flowing well.

My friend and I both caught small fish.

There isn't much public land to walk on this headwaters stream. Only some of it falls within state lands.

We did find the swimming hole. I saw one decently sized brookie, but it darted under the falls as we arrived.

For whatever reason, we were unable to hook any fish here. 

We got back into the car and headed south, deciding to stop on the upper Neversink at one of the few areas one can access it on un-posted land. I had never fished it before but had high hopes. That was too bad, because the water temps were high and the fish were somewhat absent.

Not far from there is a covered bridge. Here it is posted and one cannot fish, but I was able to spot a fish in the channel below. Can you see it? Hard to tell what kind. We weren't convinced it was a trout, though.

Even if the water wasn't as cold as I wanted, there were other things to see. The flowers were in full summer glory. All around the banks and the fields were showing their colors. 

A cool breeze and views like this make the afternoon a good one.

We put the rods away and continued to head south, deciding to visit the Shawangunk ridge on our way home. Always fond memories here for me, I spent a good deal of time around here during my childhood.

As the sun dipped, we surrendered to the flow, taking us back to the city and our daily lives. Another adventure logged and a new Tenkara fan has been born.


  1. Smallmouth. I mean the unidentified creature in the crystal clear water of course...

  2. Enjoying the outdoors and spreading the good word on tenkara.....nicely done!

    1. Thanks Kiwi, always fun to spend time with good friends in the outdoors!